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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kids Urged To Unplug For ‘Screen Free Week’

"The modern toddler iPad experience" (Wayan Vota/Flickr)

“The modern toddler iPad experience” (Wayan Vota/Flickr)

Back away from your electronic device — that’s the message from the non-profit Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood, which has declared this Screen-Free Week.

Susan Linn, co-founder and director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, at Here & Now studios at WBUR in Boston. (Jesse Costa/Here and Now)

Susan Linn of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, at Here & Now studios in Boston. (Jesse Costa/Here and Now)

Susan Linn, director of organization, wants parents and children to turn off devices because, she says, children are exposed to too much screen media at an early age.

“On any given day, 64 percent of babies between 12 months and two years [are] watching TV and video for an average of over two hours per day,” Linn told Here & Now‘s Robin Young. “The screens and the rapidly moving images trigger little squirts of Dopamine, which is associated with pleasure [and it is] kind of mirroring what happens with addictive drugs.”

The organization is calling on people to instead “think, read, play, daydream, explore nature, enjoy family and friends.”

‘Doug Unplugged’

0501_doug-unplugged

Children’s author Dan Yaccarino has touched on the theme of screen-free time in his book “Doug Unplugged.”

It’s about a robot named Doug who unplugs himself from his daily download of information to go out an explore the world.

During his unplugged day, Doug makes new friends, learns how to play hide-and-seek and hugs his parents.

“My book is really advocating a balance,” Yaccarino said. “The character gains a small amount of information, bytes of information, that he then uses when he goes out into the world where he completes his learning.”

Have you ever ditched your digital devices for a span of time? How did it go? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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